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Date: March 30th 1916

St Martins Plains
Shorncliff. Kent
March 30/16

My Dear Wife:

Just a line to let you know how things are here. Last Tuesday night there was an awful storm. It was the worst they ever had for 20 years, you may talk about those south-easters we had last winter, but they were only gentle zephyrs compared to this storm. In the morning the morning the ground was covered with snow, and frost, whew, it was cold. As a matter of fact I have been cold ever since I have been here, although we have 4 blankets. I need you dear sweetheart, to keep me warm. This is no joke. Everyone is complaining. We are in 2 huts corrugated iron outside and lined with inch flooring. Every night when the lights are on, the windows are covered with blankets. There is not a lamp lit around the camp, and it is awful muddy here, and if you go to town at night you will be over [?] [?] foot tops in mud & water. The country here is pretty, being a rolling one. The hills are a little higher than [?] Hill all the farms around here have lots of sheep, and Baby & Dody would go crazy when they saw the sheep & lambs. Never saw such sheep in my life. Instead of fences most of the places are divided by hedges, and they are kept trimmed look very pretty. We are camped about 2 miles from town. The towns here all join. There are 4, one after the other & they are all joined by brick residences & apartments. There are busses running between them, and the fare is 4 cents, twppence. I saw 2 young ladies today, about 16, doing postmans work. They had the bag on their back, and were running in and out of houses delivering mail. Today was payday and we all got 2 pounds $9.80. We were told today that there was no general leave of 6 days for men from Canada. We have to put in a pass for it in the usual way, and we are liable to be turned down. I got the p.o. order today. I may put in for a pass next week. If I do not I will buy the cloth here and send it. The YMCA have a place in London for Soldiers to stay where they can get meals, beds, baths, etc & if I go I will stay there. There are no photo places here, else with this you would get my old mug. Will get it taken the first opportunity and surprise you. I looked forward for a letter today, but nothing [?]. I know there are several between Vic and here, and they will arrived in due time, I suppose. The main thing is not to worry. Well, you old dear, I am worrying about you and the children, and hope that you and they are all well and in good health. Do not forget to send me 3 plugs of J & B. Get one of the boys to get them at 2 Jacks, and tell them to ask for light colored ones. If Jimmy & Jack were here they would get a good chance. They asked all of us if we had any previous experience in signalling, machine gun, [?], & if we had they gave them a chance to go to a school of instruction and qualify for an instructor Well you old dear, I love you more than ever, & miss you, yes, I do. Will close with Love & Kisses to self & children.

Your Loving Hubby

487355 W.J. Johnston
St. Martins Plains
Shorncliff, Eng.


P.S. By the way. The camp is all on the qui line. We are all practicing for a big review of all the Canadian troops to be held Monday for Maj- Gen. Sam Hughes, will write and let you know about it Monday night. Here are a few for you. XXXXXXXXXXXX These for the children XXXXXXXX

And this a good night kiss

Original Scans

Original Scans